September 28, 2008

What Does Excelling Mean?

Filed under: Personal Growth,self improvement — fatrunner @ 6:51 am
Tags: ,

As the name implies, this site is primarily about Microsoft Excel and my desire to learn more about it and visual basic, but it is also about my other passion in life…self help & self improvement and my desire to excel.  So from time to time I will cover what’s going on in my life and how I’m personally trying to excel.

Which are you working on...the 20% or the 80%?

Which are you working on...the 20% or the 80%?

I just got finished reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris and I found it to be a very eye opening read.  The main reason I read it was to learn how to get more done, but the book covered so much more. Mr. Ferris has a fantastic knack for looking at things through a different lens.  The main focus of the book is not so much how to get more done, but how to get the important things done and to ignore the non-important things to free up your time.  In the book he mentions both the Pareto Principle and Parkinson’s Law, both of which I had heard of and knew about, but had never considered combining the two, which Mr. Ferris does with great apparent success. The short version is that if 20 percent of your work provides you with 80 percent of your results, then focus on the 20 percent and ignore, or delegate, the other 80 percent, but don’t just stop there.  If you don’t focus on the amount of time you spend on that 20 percent, it will balloon up to 100 percent, based on Parkinson’s law.  It’s an easy enough concept to understand, but not always as easy to implement.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is the notion of outsourcing that 80 percent. If you don’t have someone to delegate to, you can hire someone (i.e. a virtual assistant) to do the work for you. It is a fascinating concept I had never considered before reading this book.  It really takes a commitment to focus on what of your work you can give to someone else, and I honestly haven’t spent the time to really get to that point.  In my job, I don’t honestly expect to get to the point that Mr. Ferris does in which he travels and spends just a few hours a week on “work”.  Of course he addresses that point in his book by telling you, albeit in summary form, how to start your own business.  He does provide extensive resources for the reader to follow up on, on their own, which is probably the right way to go, because can one person really give you a blueprint to start your own business? I don’t think so and I don’t believe Mr. Ferris does either.  He does give you the steps involved in how he built his business and how he believes you can follow in his footsteps with your own ideas to replicate his success.

I will admit, while reading through the portion of the book concerning starting your own business and the portion that discusses living life as a world traveler, I was a little miffed. I didn’t believe that this information was for me because it didn’t give me a step by step plan of what my business should be (since I don’t have a clue what that business would be) and I have kids and who in their right mind is going to travel the world with a bunch of kids in tow?  I will say that upon further reflection, I believe that he used the right approach on the business start up with generous resources provided and few absolute details and traveling does not seem quite as scary now.

I’m  intersted to hear if any of you out there have made any changes in your life that have truely given you a boost to your productivity.  Let me hear from you.


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